Many small businesses are concerned as to what they need to do to manage health and safety risks and meet legal requirements. We have highlighted some key points for you to assist in minimising health and safety risks.
Your Lorega HSE Recovery policy will provide assistance if you are inspected by the Health and Safety Executive and need support, but it is not a substitute for ensuring your business meets legal requirements and that you keep your staff and others, that may be affected by what you do, safe.
This document is designed to provide general health and safety guidance for businesses, but may not cover specific risks applicable to your business.
A business or organisation with five or more employees is required to have a written health and safety policy statement and arrangements for putting it into effect. This should consist of
- a general statement of policy
- who is responsible for each part of the policy
- a list of the health and safety procedures that are in place.
A visiting HSE inspector is likely to ask for this policy and check whether you are following it in practice. You must ensure that all your employees are aware of the health and safety policy, for example by giving them a copy or putting it on a staff notice board. The HSE provide a health and safety policy template for reference.
Employers are required to display a statutory health and safety law poster (or give their staff a pocket card with the same information). The poster outlines your company’s obligations to your staff under health and safety law.
All businesses or organisations which employ staff are required to assess health and safety risks, and the actions they need to take to control of the risks in line with legal requirements. If there are five or more employees, the significant findings of the risk assessment have to be written down. This does not have to be a complicated process and there are templates available online.
All private employers (with a few exceptions, related to direct employment of family members and sole employees being a shareholder with more than 50% ownership of the business) will need Employers’ Liability Insurance.
You should either display the insurance certificate at your place of work, or alternatively make it available electronically to employees. Your broker should be able to give you advice on this.
Many serious incidents occur because employees are not adequately trained to undertake the work they do. It is always important that you have clear rules for your staff for them to know what is expected of them, as well as having a proper understanding of what they are, or are not, authorised to do.
- Some types of work, such as operating fork lift trucks or workplace vehicles, erecting scaffolding or working on construction sites, will require specific training.
- Other types of work, for example with gas and electricity, will need specific qualifications.
Always make sure that new employees have a first day health and safety induction briefing and cover essential items, such as the fire procedure and what they are, and are not, allowed to do. Don’t forget that you should always keep records of the training given.
Where the work requires it, you must provide your employees with the relevant protective clothing and equipment such as protective footwear, hard hats, eye protection, respiratory protection, ear protection and high visibility clothing.
This is required to be provided free of charge to the employee and maintained and replaced as necessary. Where protective clothing or equipment is needed, you must insist on your employees wearing or using it.
Always ensure that you have taken advice on the suitability of the equipment you are providing and that your employees are properly trained as to when and how to use it.
Learn more: http://www.hse.gov.uk/toolbox/ppe.htm
As an employer you are required to ensure that you provide the right equipment for the job, and it is maintained and inspected and kept in a safe condition. In many cases this can be simple inspections and checks.
Other types of equipment such as lifts, lifting equipment and tackle, pressure systems, gas systems and electrical equipment need formal inspections and tests by a specialist inspection organisation.
Where your employees provide their own tools and equipment for your work, you still have a responsibility to ensure that it is safe.
Your broker should be able to provide you with further information on statutory inspections and tests.
Learn more: http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/
Many organisations do not realise that they have a responsibility for contractors who do work for them or work on their premises. Always check that that contractors you are going to use are competent and experienced in the work that they are going to do, and provide them with the appropriate safety information.
If you or your contractors are involved undertaking construction or building maintenance work, special regulations also apply and there are requirements for ensuring the contractor produces a construction phase plan.
As an employer, you have to provide toilets and washing facilities and facilities where staff can take rest breaks and eat meals. You also have to ensure that there are adequate arrangements for first aid (including first aid boxes) and, depending on the number of employees and the nature of the work, trained first aiders.
Certain types of accident, dangerous occurrences and ill health conditions also have to be reported to the HSE.
All organisations should have workplace fire procedures, training for staff, fire extinguishers, clearly signed fire exits, together with adequate fire detection, emergency lighting, fire alarms and means of escape and arrangements to minimise fire risk.
If there are five or more employees there should also be a written fire risk assessment.
Where work is undertaken with hazardous materials such as chemicals or flammable materials or fumes or dusts generated by processes (for example, welding fume, oil mist, wood dust, dust from cutting concrete and stone) then there needs to be a careful written assessment as to the hazards and risks involved.
Appropriate control measures must be put in place (such as fume extraction, dust control, avoidance of ignition sources etc), and it’s important to note there are stringent controls and licensing requirements if you work with asbestos.
You should always consult with your staff on implementing health and safety precautions and to understand any issues of which you may not be aware. If your staff are involved in the safety procedures and arrangements which are to be put in place, they are more likely to implement them.
Larger companies may have health and safety committees, trade union safety representatives or elected representatives of employee health and safety.
All employers are required by law to appoint one or more persons to provide assistance and advice on health and safety matters. For a small business, this may be the proprietor or an employee who can look into the relevant issues.
For larger businesses with more complex risks they may need to have a specially trained employee or seek external assistance.
HSE Recovery Insurance
HSE Recovery is an insurance policy, which provides businesses regulated by the HSE, with expert help and guidance when they need it.